If you are a Windows Phone user and on Verizon, the last two weeks have been a pretty frustrating experience. Last week they announced they are retiring the Lumia Icon (Lumia 930) and just yesterday it was widely reported that Verizon will not be stocking the new Lumia 730 until early 2015, almost six months after its release. It compounds an already poor user experience for Windows Phone owners on Verizon when it comes to updates and really smacks of the platform as being a distant 3rd cousin once removed in the eyes of the company. It’s sad and frustrating and is part of the daily struggle Windows Phone faces in the US market.
In order for Windows Phone to grow and gain a market share in the US, carriers like Verizon have to be supportive. They have to get phones as quickly as possible after they are released and get them into their stores for people to touch, play with and try out. Other carriers like T-Mobile and AT&T, have both done a great job of committing to Windows Phone although the release of updates like Lumia Cyan is still frustratingly slow. But Verizon takes that frustration to a whole new level. For example, Lumia Cyan has rolled out to every Windows Phone in the AT&T portfolio at this point (current and old devices). Verizon? Cyan still isn’t available and there is no indication of when it will be. As I’ve discussed and you well know, Lumia Cyan is a huge update for Windows Phone and even with carrier testing, should be in the hands of consumers today.
It is unacceptable and frankly Microsoft should turn the screws a bit to get Verizon to get their act together. There is no reason that an update released months ago shouldn’t be on the phones of customers today.
Putting aside the whole challenge with updates, Verizon is for all intents and purposes stepped away from Windows Phone. With the Icon now retired (although still in stock) and no new Lumia coming to the carrier until next year, basically it leaves you with one choice, the HTC One M8 with Windows Phone. Not a bad choice but when there is only one choice to choose from, its not really a choice anymore. AT&T on the other hand has several Lumia’s in their line up today with the 730 and 830 coming before the end of the year. Likewise it is rumored that the 930 will be coming as well as the HTC One M8.
AT&T it seems gets it. Verizon it seems doesn’t.
Now I’m not suggesting for a minute that A&T is the carrier of all carriers. Yes I was a customer for a long time but they are far from perfect. But they do give consumers choices and they do support a wide range of Apple, Google and Microsoft devices. As they should as a major carrier in the US. Verizon it seems is solely focused on Apple and I suggest that because even Verizon Android users are horribly behind on updates.
The bigger problem here is Microsoft needs both Verizon and AT&T selling their devices. If they have any hope of gaining more than a 10-15% market share, they need the two big carriers pumping out these devices. Right now it’s just not happening and it is having a detrimental impact on the platform in one of the biggest markets. It is a sharp contrast to here in England where I can go to any carrier here and get basically any Windows Phone I want… or any Android I want. It is how it should be working in the United States but it is a long way off from that today.
Verizon represents a lot of what is not going right for Windows Phone today but it is certainly a correctable action. The company could step up, get the updates out and carry a wider range of phones so consumers have a choice. But equally, Microsoft I believe needs to step in at this point and force the issue with Verizon. I mean seriously, what is there to risk? Pissing off a carrier? Clearly the carrier in question doesn’t seem to bothered by Microsoft or Windows Phone.
I do hope that Verizon gets their Windows Phone act together by their own actions or by being forced my Microsoft. Either way, as an American who’s moving back to the United States in a few weeks and is a Windows Phone user, Verizon isn’t even being considered for my mobile carrier needs. I’ll go elsewhere to get my new Windows Phone.